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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 26, 2022)

Last year the U.S. saw a record volume of commercial real estate sales, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sam Zell predicts office buildings will recover from the pandemic much faster than retail, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. COVID-19 Fuels Best Ever Commercial Real Estate Sales “Investors set a record for U.S. commercial-property sales last year, betting that the pandemic is reordering how Americans live, work and play. Real-estate buyers loaded up on warehouses, which serve as fulfillment centers for the e-commerce boom. They bought apartment buildings to capitalize on record high rents. They paid up for resorts and vacation-oriented hotels that benefited from the resurgence in travel to leisure destinations.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. After Urban Flight, Corporate Campuses Add a Taste of the City “After World War II, corporations moved to exclusive gated suburban campuses to escape traffic, crowds and big-city clamor. Now companies are designing a little city hubbub back into suburban headquarters by adding shops, restaurants, hotels, residences and public parks. The change in the concept of the corporate campus reflects two related trends that executives say appear to be unaffected by the pandemic.” (The New York Times)
  3. Real Estate Billionaire Sam Zell Says Office Space Will Recover ‘Much Faster’ Than Retail “The Equity Group Investments founder expects the office market to rebound once Covid becomes ‘less of a risk,’ albeit with hybrid work becoming part of the norm. The speed of recovery will depend largely on thriving industries that hire more workers to come into the office, he added. ‘Ultimately the amount of time people spend in the office is gonna be very much related to the demand for their time.’ However, the office market is still not without its own problems.” (CNBC)
  4. Workers Care More About Flexible Hours Than Remote Work “Ninety-five percent of people surveyed want flexible hours, compared with 78% of workers who want location flexibility, according to a new report from Future Forum, a consortium focused on reimagining the future of work led by Slack Technologies Inc. The new data, collected in November 2021 from a survey of more than 10,000 knowledge workers, offers a snapshot into just how popular hybrid arrangements have become in the second year of the pandemic, how virtually all workers prize schedule flexibility above all and the growing concerns that many bosses have about how to keep promotions and pay fair when some employees are in the office while others stay home.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. Robust 2021 Holiday Sales Pressure Reverse Logistics “Mastercard reports in spite of hurdles from supply chain disruptions and a Covid-19 resurgence, retail sales were up 8.5% between November 1 and December 24, vis-à-vis the year before. But once holiday season concluded, another kind of work commenced. A robust holiday shopping season resulted in retailers being inundated with returns and exchanges. In the process of accepting returns, termed a “reverse logistical process,” retailers are presented with an untidy headwind that accounts for more than 10% of total supply chain costs.” (Forbes)
  6. New York Judge Overturns State’s Indoor Mask Mandate “The governor vowed to fight conservative Rademaker’s decision, which overturns mask mandates in schools and public spaces but does not reverse local mandates like those in place for New York City schools which have their own policies under the city’s education department, the Times reported. The New York State Department of Education told schools that while the case is ongoing, schools must follow the mask rule.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. Amazon Is Bringing Its Cashierless Go Convenience Stores to the Suburbs to Capture Work-from-Home Shoppers “Amazon introduced its cashierless Go store in 2016, allowing shoppers to fill their baskets and leave without having to go through a checkout aisle.” (Insider)
  8. REBNY’s James Whelan Weighs In on Eric Adams, Work from Home and Inflation “Given the sheer disruptiveness of the past two years of COVID-19, it might be easier to wonder which issues the Real Estate Board of New York didn’t have to deal with rather than which issues it did. Work from home devastating the office market, retailers already hurt by online shopping further pained by the pandemic, a dire need for more affordable housing — James Whelan, REBNY’s president, has been trying to find ways around all of this and more to help bring New York City back to its prelapsarian glory.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. New Legislation to Required Large Commercial/Multifamily Buildings to Have Green Roofs Submitted in Washington State “This Rooftop for Climate Survival Act provides building owners with options to install standard green roofs, and also agrivoltaic systems which produce food, biosolar roofs which produce energy, and blue/green roofs which retain and detain stormwater. The bill hopes to maximize the full potential of Washington States’ roofs. Washington would not be the first to implement a bill like this, as similar legislation has been implemented in California, Illinois, Oregon, New York, Washington DC, and other parts of the world. Should this bill pass, it will come into effect by December 31, 2024.” (
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